GAMECUBE REVIEW: SUPER MARIO STRIKERS

Modes include Training, Cup, Super Cup, Trophy, Custom Battles and Grudge Matches. The Grudge Matches are quick and easy to get into and don't require anything more than playing one match at a time. Custom Battles lets you set various parameters such as the duration of each match and the restriction of power-ups if you feel that you just want to play a core game of soccer without all the silliness. Of course the silliness is not just a topping, it's marinated into the gameplay. There are random events to worry about as well such as when Bowser drops in unexpectedly to incinerate any player that gets close to him on the field. He can also tilt the playing field so that one team will be playing downhill while the other has to move the ball uphill.

All of these events are fun to compensate for, at least while they're fresh. However I was quite surprised to find that I actually looked forward to these unexpected challenges as I became more confident with my control of the game. I just wanted to see how much better I was at neutralizing these silly threats that I fully expected to become a novelty in a few hours. I don't imagine I'll play the single-player game for weeks on end but the multi-player mode might be a different story.

Up to four players can participate in the multi-player mode with two players on each team. Playing as the captain is arguably the most fun since he's got the most moves at his disposal but if you don't get an argument from your teammate, don't mention it. Tell him or her how important defense is, and don't forget that freezing an enemy or forcing them into an electric fence can still be a lot of fun. The most fun comes with the verbal sparring between players as there is a lot of aggressiveness to the gameplay with all of the power-ups and attacks that can for some very unfair advantages. I would take bets that the most used sentence, or variation thereof, would be "I'm going to get you, you #%$~*+#!" In other words, beautiful Holiday sentiments for your Mom and Dad to gaze upon each other lovingly and knowingly for the little monsters they've created.

Animations of mid-air kicks, bicycle kicks, flying headers, fireballs, saves, interceptions, tackles, explosions and a host of violent assaults should manage to entertain player for weeks to come. All of the animations are perfectly timed and are quite funny to watch. So much so that you'll find yourself pulling some of these moves just to watch the other team get hurt with little regard for scoring.

All of the characters look excellent although they are rendered slightly more aggressive looking to appear intimidating. Don't expect a lot of voiceovers, there is no storyline and few cutscenes. The music is catchy and the crowds' cheers should get you motivated. Delivered in Pro Logic II you will literally be surrounded by the cheers and jeers of the lively, animated crowd. There is a lack of arenas and the backgrounds tend to look blurry.

Super Mario Strikers is a decent little soccer game even though it's not loaded with options. It's a good addition to your Cube collection, especially if you plan on taking advantage of the four-player mode. Otherwise rent this one as the single-player mode will only give you a few days of entertainment.

By StewXX
CCC Staff Writer

Rating out of 5
Super Mario Strikers (GC)
3.3
Graphics
The character models are nicely rendered. There are some good animations but overall the backgrounds lack detail. The arenas look too similar and there is evidence of blurry textures.
4.1
Control
There isn't a lot of moves to choose from but the controls are solid and responsive.
3.5
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Not much in the way of voiceovers. The crowd sounds good and the music is standard arcade fare - quirky and fun but forgettable.
4.8
Play Value
You're only going to get your money's worth out of this game if you plan on getting a lot of use out of the multi-player mode.
3.7
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
2
Preview By Vaughn

Will Nintendo ever stop whoring out poor Mario? This guy should be retiring, but no! He's playing baseball, golf, tennis and now soccer. Last time I checked the people of Mushroom Kingdom were pretty pissed that they're toilets were backed up and Mario was goofing off playing kick ball down the street.

Nintendo's foray into sports titles continues with Super Mario Strikers, a new soccer game that's unlike anything ever to hit the pitch. Whether players are freezing their opponents with an ice-cold shell, unleashing a spiny shell on their hapless opponents or making entire teams flee in terror with a roving Chain Chomp, they're sure to see something new around every corner kick. Super Mario Strikers features all the favorite characters from the Nintendo universe, as well as four-person multiplayer action that will have players and their friends cheering all night long. Get ready for the world cup of gaming.

Mario fans may have to wait until the Revolution is released to see the next "real" Super Mario adventure, but in the meantime you can kick him in the balls whenever Striker hits the streets. Okay, so I know that "kick him in the balls" shot didn't quite make sense, because technically you wouldn't just go up and kick Mario in the family jewels if you were playing a friendly game of soccer. Well, maybe you Xbox fanatics would. Anyway, if you can figure out a better way to end this preview, by all means send it in. I'm tired.

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Review Rating Legend
1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor
2.5 - 2.9 = Average
3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
3.5 - 3.9 = Good
4.0 - 4.4 = Great
4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
5.0 = The Best